Pin It
Chechnya gay purge

Russia’s LGBT activists say there’s a ‘new wave’ of torture in Chechnya

They’re helping people to escape

The Russian LGBT network, a rights group based in St Petersburg, is reporting that more people have been taken as part of the so-called “gay purge” in the Chechnya region of Russia, which has seen a wave of detentions and state-sanctioned torture of gay people.

Since 2017, there have been fears of kidnapping and abuse of gay people in detention centres that were likened to concentration camps. In recent weeks, more details have emerged that are beyond horrific.

Now, both men and women have been subject to abuse. There are stories of women being raped with “electric shock sticks”, and men having their heads shaved and forced to wear women’s clothes. Two Chechens have reportedly died after being tortured and a further 40 had been detained since December. Sources close to the activist group say arrests begun after police arrested the admin of a gay social network site named VKontakte, which allowed gay men in the North Caucasus to communicate. 

Most reports have come out of the town of Argun, and others say more are being held at a police station in Grozny, Chechnya’s capital. “Once again, it proves that all the detentions, tortures and murders are committed by the law enforcement officers,” the report by the LGBT network explained.

One survivor told the group: “They did not feed us. Sometimes they gave us some water, dirty water that was left after mopping. They gave us clean water only for prayer.”

The organisation says that it has helped dozens of men escape in the last year, and now transgender women and lesbians are now being “hunted”, they’re raising awareness of what they have dubbed a “new wave” of persecution.

The Chechen authorities have denied that any persecution is taking place. Dzhambulat Umarov, the minister of information, recently called the allegations “utter crap”.

However, when reports first surfaced a spokesperson refuted the allegations by denying the existence of gay Chechens altogether saying: “You can’t detain and harass someone who doesn’t exist in the republic.” 

Find out how you can help stop the torture of LGBT Chechens here.